Monday, January 20, 2020

It's Monday 1/20! What Are You Reading?

Whew, busy week! Lots of appointments, doctors, etc. but some fun stuff, too, with both friends and family. I went out with my two closest friends for a long overdue meet-up Friday night, for dinner and a movie. Our three sons have been best friends since Kindergarten (in their 20's now), and we used to see each other once a week. Life's just been crazy lately! I think this was the first time all three of us got together since November.

Then, on Saturday, my husband and I took our sons to dinner and to see Jersey Boys at our local theater - this was one of my Christmas gifts to my three men. It was nice to have time together, and the show was wonderful!! I smiled from beginning to end (and sang along, quietly). Such a fun show with incredible music; even our 20-something sons recognized many of the songs.

Now, my husband is off on a business trip, and my son and I have more appointments scheduled this week! Hoping for some quiet time otherwise, though.

And, of course, quiet time means...BOOKS! Here's what we've all been reading this past week:

I finished reading Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday, a Christmas gift from my son. I've wanted to read this novel since its release in early 2018, and it appeared on many Best of 2018 lists that year. It definitely lived up to my expectations! The novel is told in 3 separate but connected parts. In part 1, called Folly, a young assistant editor named Alice falls into a romance with a much older, famous writer named Ezra Blazer in the years after 9/11. Part 2, Madness, centers on an Iraqi-American man named Amar who gets stopped in customs at Heathrow while trying to visit his brother in Kurdistan and spends the weekend in a holding room there, all while flashing back to his childhood, college years, and earlier visits to the war-torn region and how it differs from the only home he has ever known, in America. Part 3 pulls things together in a very clever, unique way. The writing is exquisite and completely pulled me into each story, making me care about the characters and wondering how their stories would eventually intersect. It is a thoughtful, intricate set of stories filled with details that make you feel as if you really know these people. It is sticking with me, too; I find myself still thinking about it a week later.

Now, I am reading Recursion by Blake Crouch, a sci fi novel I have been dying to read! I really loved the author's novel, Dark Matter, and got this newer novel for my husband's birthday last fall ... so I had to wait for him to read it first! I can't say too much about the plot without spoiling it, but the narrative starts out moving back and forth between two characters: Barry, an NYPD detective, in 2018, and Helena, a neuroscientist hoping to discover a way to help her mother and others with Alzheimer's preserve some of their memories, in 2007. The premise deals with memory, time, and perception in that super-twisty, mind-blowing way that Crouch demonstrated in Dark Matter, too. I love this kind of thought-provoking stuff! As expected, I am completely immersed in the original and compelling story and can't wait to get back to it (and staying up too late at night reading). Both Dark Matter and Recursion are listed as movies in development, which makes me very, very happy!

On audio, I am continuing my focus in January on books I've wanted to read for a long time, listening to A Man Called Ove, my first-ever Fredrik Backman! I've heard such great things about this novel, its author, and all the other novels Backman has written since. The novel begins by describing the daily routines of Ove, a grumpy, solitary man living in Sweden who's recently been forced into an early retirement that he never wanted. Ove is very practical and wants to be useful, but he is also set in his ways and quite judgemental about those who approach life differently than he does! As the story progresses, the reader/listener discovers Ove is dealing with some serious challenges. Quite against his will, he begins to get to know some of his neighbors. I started laughing from the very first minutes of listening and also appreciate the emotional depth, so I am definitely enjoying it so far.

My husband, Ken, finished reading a new Christmas gift that our son gave him, The Raven Tower by Anne Leckie. The two of them enjoy the same kind of fantasy novels (they are also watching Game of Thrones together on DVD), so our son had fun picking this one out for his dad (he hasn't read it yet, either). I see that this is Leckie's first fantasy novel, but she has won Hugo, Nebula, and Arthur C. Clarke awards, so she must be a good writer! Patrick Rothfus, an author whom they both enjoy, said of this novel, "It's a delight to read something so different, so wonderful and strange." Ken said it was indeed quite different and not his typical kind of book, but he did enjoy it. I'm sure our son will want to borrow it now that his dad has finished it - like mother, like son! 

Our son, 25, is still reading The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski, part of The Witcher series. It's a prequel explaining how the main character got his Witcher start. You have probably heard all the hype recently about the new Netflix TV show (and apparently, a best-selling video game, too) based on this book series, and even though he hadn't read the books yet (usually a requirement in our house), my son jumped into the Netflix show the first day it was released and is enjoying season 1. So, when he received The Last Wish as a Christmas gift, he quickly set his other book aside to read it. He's enjoying it so far and says that having watched the TV show isn't ruining the book for him, since the action in this book takes place before the TV series. He's loving both!



Last week's blog posts were all related to 2019 Wrap-Ups! Check out my favorites of 2019 (top movies to come later today):
Favorite TV Shows Reviewed in 2019 - my top picks plus the complete list - all great shows!

Books Read in December & 2019 Reading Challenges Wrap-Up

Best Books Read in 2019 - my reading stats, top picks, and best of lists - great reading year!

What Are You Reading Monday is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date, so head over and check out her blog and join the Monday fun! You can also participate in a kid/teen/YA version hosted by Unleashing Readers.

You can follow me on Twitter at @SueBookByBook or on Facebook on my blog's page.   

What are you and your family reading this week?

16 comments:

  1. I'm so happy to read your thoughts on A Man Called Ove. I checked it out, but only have 14 more days to finish. We're in the middle of house hunting and I'm struggling so much with finishing books, but this is one I definitely want to finish in 2020. Hope you have a fantastic reading week, Sue!

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    1. I'm right at the end of the audio now, and it's been very good. Seems light & fin at first but lots of depth to it, in addition to humor. I think you will like it when you find the time!

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  2. My book club this month is on A MAN CALLED OVE. I was surprised that a husband of one of the members stopped me at church and told me how much he liked the book. That is a first.

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    1. Oh, wow - that is interesting! I'm am nearing the end of the audio and really enjoying it.

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  3. Looks like a good list of reading you've got going this week! I'm reading a YA book by Meredith Russo right now and it's quite good.

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    1. Sounds good, Helen! I will have to come by your blog (long overdue!) and check it out.

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  4. Recursion is a book that I have seen recommended so many times and maybe at some point I'll have a go at it. Sounds like a fun week, so pleased to hear that.

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    1. It's my favorite kind of fiction, Kathryn - mind-bending, super-twisty time-bending stuff :)

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  5. I do want to get to Recursion. I'm just at a point right now where I have too too too many books I have to read!

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    1. I;m always at that point, Cheriee!

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  6. I loved A Man Called Ove...it made me cry!

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    1. Awww...I'm nearing the end so will let you know ;)

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  7. A Man Called Ove is wonderful, everything I’ve read by Backman has been great..emotional and uplifting.

    Wishing you a great reading week

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    1. I am enjoying it - definitely want to read other Backman books.

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  8. Asymmetry is going on my TBR, it sounds fantastic. I've read other books by Backman and loved them, but I haven't read A Man Called Ove yet - my mother has had my copy for a long time. Maybe it's time to ask for it back! Have a great week.

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    1. Definitely, Wendi! It's a good one. Now I need to read the others by Backman.

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